Derry City & Strabane District Councilis considering using mobile CCTV cameras in stake outs against pet owners suspected of allowing their dogs to foul in the street.
The shock move was announced at the February meeting of Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Health and Community Committee.
The councillors sitting on the committee had been asked to approve a new Dog Control Enforcement Policy, but several councillors said that when it came to dog fouling, the proposed measures didn’t go far enough.
A report brought before the committee revealed that there were around 6,000 dogs licensed annually. The Enforcement Policy outlines action to be considered along a ‘three strikes’ guideline. In relation to dog fouling, the policy states that for first and second offences within the same year, a dog owner will be offered a fixed penalty notice.
Recurring offences “will be dealt with in line with the Council’s general enforcement procedure”, the policy states. “The Council will decide to take no further action, issue an informal warning, issue a simple caution or instigate legal proceedings for the offence.”
SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack said she welcomed anything that would crack down on irresponsible dog owners messing up local footpaths.
Sinn Fein Councillor Karina Carlin said the dog issue was the “bane of all our lives” and was singularly the most complained about issue locally.
“It must be demoralising for dog wardens to catch people in the act and not have the power to do more. It must be a source of extreme frustration,” she said.
DUP Councillor Hilary McClintock called for more stringent measures. “I don’t think these go far enough,” she said.
A Council officer said there was already a zero tolerance approach, adding that officers were considering portable CCTV cameras. He elaborated that these would be set up for a period of time when a pet owner was suspected or reported.